‘I love being that first step to a brighter future,’ Launa on how she moved from a career in domiciliary care to Lifeways
Launa hadn’t always wanted to work in social care.
In fact, in her working life, Launa had tried her hand at a little bit of everything – including retail, warehouse work, all the way to building and optimising websites!
“I actually avoided care for a long time because I thought it was all about making tea and helping with people’s personal care,’ recalls Launa.
Yet a serious accident would become a turning point for Launa’s career path.
A decade ago, Launa fell 16 feet, breaking her back. As well as being temporarily bed-bound, Launa had to be strapped to her bed to protect her spinal cord from further damage. This meant that Launa was completely dependent on those around her.
Sadly, the standard of care Launa received was poor. She found herself begging for help to use the toilet, and her carers paid little attention while cleaning her. Visitors had to help her eat her meals - which by that time had gone cold.
“I felt invisible,” Launa recalls. “When visitors had gone home, I never felt so alone.”
Yet that bad experience stirred in Launa a new-found passion.
“While lying there I decided that I could do this better and that when I had recovered, I decided I would look at going in to some form of care work,” Launa says.
Once Launa recovered, she found a job as a domiciliary carer, visiting the homes of people with support needs.
Launa’s new job was demanding. Over the course of a 30-minute house call with each individual, she would help each person wash, dress, take medication, and make their breakfast.
The pressure – and the feeling that individuals weren’t getting the time or attention needed – didn’t sit well with Launa.
Yet she enjoyed looking after people, and was passionate about keeping people as independent as possible in their own homes.
Climbing the ladder
She soon began to climb the career ladder in domiciliary care, becoming a team leader, then a care co-ordinator, and lastly, deputy manager of a branch of the domiciliary care firm.
But despite having grown her career, Launa found she’d hit a ceiling. “In dom care, once you make management level in your branch there isn’t really anywhere else to go,” she says.
Launa then decided to look for another opportunity in the social care sector – and started a job in Lifeways as a service manager in a supported living service.
She then took up a new role within Lifeways as an Enquiry, Referral and Assessment Manager, managing support placements around Cambridge, Norfolk, and Peterborough. She now mostly works from home.
As well as the ability to grow her career to new heights, Launa prefers the supported living sector’s deeper focus on the needs of individuals.
“At Lifeways, people we support are commissioned a block of weekly hours that are delivered in a person-centred way to provide support for daily living tasks as well as helping them to live a full life in the community,” Launa says.
In practical terms, this means support workers get to spend more time with each individual, ensuring a deeper level of support.
“Then there’s the seemingly small but significant difference on the focus between what Lifeways calls ‘support’ and what other providers often call ‘care,’ says Launa.
“My favourite thing about working in supported living is that you are ‘doing things with’ the individual you support, whereas care is ‘doing things for’ them,” Launa adds.
“As an Enquiry, Referral and Assessment manager I love being that first step to a brighter future. Helping people not just to live but to be the best they can be! It is such a privilege to be a part of someone’s personal development - it is like being a proud parent every day!”
Lifeways is the UK’s largest team of support professionals providing support for adults in the community.
Lifeways supports adults with diverse and complex needs, including learning disabilities, autism, physical disabilities, acquired brain injuries, and mental health conditions.
As the supported living sector’s largest team of professionals, Lifeways’ extensive experience and national reach mean we deliver extraordinary support to adults, enabling them to live fulfilling and independent lives in the community.
Our 11,000 colleagues currently support almost 5,000 individuals who live in our 1,500 supported living and residential services across England, Scotland, and Wales.
Find out more about how we change people's lives at: www.lifeways.co.uk
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